Meeting Point with…the Science Fiction & Fantasy Critique Group

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Critique Group are having a membership drive from the 1st of February to the 14th of February. They are looking for members who write science fiction and/or fantasy. They will need to be advanced writers. And no R-rated material please.

**Please note that whilst the group are registered with the RWA it is not a requirement that individual group members hold an RWA membership. All who meet the above criteria are welcome.**

If interested, please contact Theresa at

If you are already part of a writer’s group and would like the opportunity to promote yourselves, your work or attract new members then please contact Jane at


Face-2-face with… Bianchin’s Babes

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GROUP NAME: Bianchin’s Babes

AREA/REGION: Gold Coast, Qld

MEMBERS: Six published full time authors

GENRE: Romance, fantasy, inspirational, short story

ABOUT: Bianchin’s Babes began nineteen years ago when Helen Bianchin formed the group and became its mentor. Under her guiding hand we’ve each achieved our dream of publication. We are:  Helen Bianchin (romance Harlequin Presents Louise Cusack (fantasy Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Pan Macmillan) CC (Catherine) Coburn (romance Harlequin American), Helen Lacey (romance Harlequin Special Edition), Laura O’Connell (inspirational romance Even Before Publishing), Lesley Millar (romantic short stories in various women’s magazines and anthologies). Over time our careers have evolved and so have our meetings. We started meeting monthly doing writing exercises and entering competitions, and have gone from being a critique group to being a support group where celebrations and commiserations are shared for both our writing and personal lives. In recent years three members have moved away (Laura, Helen and Louise have headed north) but we still meet every two months on the Gold Coast.

If you’d like to see your writer’s group featured on the RWA Blog then please email

Face-2-Face with… Writers not Waiters

GROUP NAME: Writers not Waiters (because if you’re waiting for inspiration, you’re not a writer but a waiter…)

AREA/REGION: Queensland’s Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane

MEMBERS: Writers not Waiters are an eclectic and dedicated group of romance writers at various stages of the journey to publication. Between us, our backgrounds include wildlife volunteering, secretarial work, governessing in the Outback, journalism, publishing, environmental sciences, small business, raising families and university majors in creative writing and literature. One of our members is self-publishing shortly, another has a full manuscript request and a one-on-one mentoring program with an editor, another is also working on a non-fiction book for the local community Library and others of us are at various stages of our manuscripts.

Members of Writers not Waiters, Sara Land, Narelle Segecic, Babette Furstner, Coralie Persoon, Cassandra L. Shaw and Joyce Lee (writing as Joy Richards).

GENRE: Very broad within the romance family, currently including fantasy/ paranormal, Tudor historical, Victorian gothic fantasy, contemporary women’s fiction and category romance. Despite this rather broad spectrum of the genre, Writers not Waiters support and enjoy each other’s passions and unique focuses and share the common ground of a love of writing and the beauty and growth that writing about relationship brings.

ABOUT:  We’re a relatively fresh new group united in our quest to become published authors, although many of us have been writing for years. We get together monthly, until recently at each other’s homes, but due to growth will probably try a sympathetic cafe or library meeting room next. We discuss writing and all aspects of becoming a published author such as query letters, writing synopses, critiquing, competitions, writing craft, marketing, writing courses and events. We support each other and enjoy supporting Sunshine Coast-based romance authors and take part in book launches, seminars, workshops and conferences. 

This year four of our six members made it to Melbourne for the RWA conference which was a huge highlight. We learnt so much, met so many inspiring authors and were thrilled to learn the group had won RWA support to host a workshop with category romance author Robyn Grady on plotting, which went ahead on October 1. Yet another highlight! Robyn was wonderful and the workshop full of insights. We shared the experience with guests from two other RWA groups and hope to have an article published in Hearts Talk soon. Our event also attracted media attention, with an article in our local daily newspaper and a story on Channel 7 local news! So we managed to promote romance fiction and polish our media skills as well. Robyn made it look very easy, but she has published 2 million books, so she knows what’s she’s doing!

Original member Joyce Lee chats with best-selling author Robyn Grady at the Writers not Waiter’s first workshop at Caloundra

Next on the horizon is joining RWA group the Moody Muses at a workshop with regency noir author Anna Campbell on deep point of view. And of course, the Christmas party! Meanwhile we write and edit and strive and share the agony and the ecstasy that is the road to publication nirvana.  

Writers not Waiters is open to new members but they must be members of RWA. If you live on the Sunshine Coast and you’re interested in joining our group please contact us via Romance Writers of Australia, you’ll find us warm and welcoming.

If you’re a member of a writers group whether you meet in the real world or online then here’s your chance to tell other RWA members all about who you are and what you do. It’s easy, just email Jane Quick at and she’ll get back to you with all the relevant information. And who knows next month it could be your turn to shine. 

Face 2 Face with…The Coven

October means Halloween and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate then with an interview with this months Face-2-Face Group ‘The Coven’.

AREA/REGION: Inner and Western Sydney
MEMBERS & GENRES: A mix of published authors in romance, short stories, erotic romance and women’s fiction 

No, we don’t sit around a cauldron and conjure up spells from eye of newt. Jenny’s kids labeled us ‘The Coven’ because we tend to cackle a lot whenever we get together.  Of course, our talented artist and potter, Bernadette, then made these fabulous badges which have since become our logo.

We are a long-standing RWA group with some recent new additions. We meet once a month at Jenny’s house as this is the most convenient and central location for everyone as we all travel from far and wide – outer west and Blue Mountains, Randwick and inner west.  With Jenny and her you-beaut coffee machine, Judy supplying the Tim Tams, Paula usually whipping up dessert, and discussion of all things writing, it’s no wonder we laugh a lot.


Our members are a wonderful and varied mix of genres, styles and experience:
Paula Roe, Jenny Brassel/JA Lesley, Maggie Nash, Shannon Curtis, Keziah Hill,   Bernadette Magee,  Judy Neumann & Kitty Bucholtz.

We try to keep our meetings fairly structured and they generally include a
presentation from whomever has chosen that month’s writing topic.  In the
past we’ve covered conflict, Facebook/social media, editing, plotting, marketing, structure, conference wrap ups and how-to book reviews… pretty much anything that will help us improve our writing.  We also swap reading and research books, discuss market and industry information and drink coffee.  A lot.

Last year we had a fabulous writing retreat in Katoomba and are planning another this month.  We are also developing The Writers Coven blog and with our cumulative knowledge of  writing, editing, publishing, formatting and cover design and marketing, we’re planning to publish an anthology in 2012.  No rest for the wicked!

The Coven is a registered face-to-face RWA group, and we mail/discuss/communicate via an online Google account.  We are a closed group at this time.  Any enquiries should go to Paula Roe

Many thanks to Paula Roe and the other wonderful ladies for agreeing to take part. And don’t forget if you’re part of a writing group, whether it’s online or you meet in person, and you’d like to see yourselves on the RWA blog then email Jane Quick at

Face-2-Face with…LoveCatsDownunder

At the RWA we like to embrace and support all our members in whatever way we can and with technology being such an integeral part of the way we all operate in today’s modern world we thought it was high time we started to get Face-2-Face with some of the RWA’s online groups.

Yes, there’s not doubt about it. Find a group of like-minded  romance writers and they’ll find a way to meet, share, learn and grow together even when distance seperates them. If you haven’t already then perhaps our latest series of F2F posts (look out for them on the first Wednesday of the moth) will inspire you to become part of an online group yourself.

Group Name: LoveCats Downunder

Area/Region: We’re Australian and New Zealand authors, hailing from places including Canberra to Perth, Christchurch, Mahau and the Sunshine Coast.

Members:  Natalie Anderson, Sharon Archer, Leah Ashton, Rachel Bailey, Zana Bell, Robyn Grady, Anna Hackett, Soraya Lane, Sue Mackay, Emily May, Tracie Sommers, Mel Teshco, Nikki Logan.

Genre: We write category romance in a broad range of lines and genres including Medical, Desire, Historicals, Romance/Sweet, Nocturne Bites, Riva, Sexy, Super Romance and Spice Briefs.

How did we start?

Sharon: “How about… we start a blog for new Harlequin category authors?” I picture Rachel Bailey and Nikki Logan nurturing this idea over a fancy cocktail at the Langham Hotel but the truth is they did it in a brainstorming session on instant messaging on opposite coasts of Australia.

They floated the concept to Tracie Sommers, Mel Teshco, Emily May, Zana Bell and me, Sharon Archer – we were all for it. We were on a roll, setting up a loop to make our discussions easier.

Title ideas got batted around. We wanted something fun – an umbrella for all of us

with our variety of lines. We wanted “cats” since we’re “category” writers and all those delicious “cat” words and puns begged to be used! And we wanted something that located us.

LoveCatsDownUnder! We launched ourselves into the blogosphere in mid-January 2010 with a week-long party. Since then we’ve added more wonderful Cats:  Anna Hackett, Michelle Douglas, Sue Mackay, Natalie Anderson, Soraya Lane and Robyn Grady, and Leah Ashton.

How do we work?

Emily: We share the jobs on the LoveCats blog. Sharon Archer is in charge of our calendar (we call her Roster Cat) and Mel Teshco is our promo cat, posting our weekly schedule on the Romaus loop and to the RWA Cruisin’ the Blogs coordinator. Nikki Logan uploads our new covers and designed the original blog. Tracie Sommers put together our Facebook page. Rachel Bailey started the Sunday Smooches — where we showcase a kiss from a recent release and have a giveaway — and Robyn Grady and I (Emily May) now run the smooches between us. We’re lucky to have a programmer (Tracie Sommers) and a web designer (Leah Ashton) on the team, and they’re currently discussing our new look.

The more technologically savvy people have been great hand-holders for those of us who find it more challenging. I am forever indebted to Sharon for the wonderful step-by-step guide she wrote on how to post a blog and upload photos!

Why I joined?

Sue: I joined the Lovecats as they’re a lively, professional and fun group of authors determined to get known out in the wider world of books. Everyone has something to offer and a variety of romance subgenres is represented. For me having minimal computer knowledge belonging to a group is a distinct advantage too.

Why we like it?

Zana: The best thing about being a LoveCat is always having like-minded women with whom to celebrate and commiserate.  We’ve been together through floods, earthquakes, births, marriages, sickness and, of course the writing of books! In the uncertain world of publishing, it’s wonderful to have a group where we can seek help and ask questions. We’ve pooled knowledge, shared experiences and brainstormed solutions for a myriad of situations and there’s nothing like a bit of cyber support when you don’t know where else to turn.

Extra Curricular Activities?

Tracie: LoveCats love pressies. Apart from having prizes and giveaways on the blog, the LoveCat members have donated prize packs to several charity fundraisers including the Silent Auctions held at the annual RWA conferences and additional fundraisers such as the Australian Romance Reader’s Convention fundraiser for flood and cyclone affected Queenslander’s earlier this year. The other thing the LoveCats love to do is cheer each other on. Last year we had three Ruby finalists Cats: Sharon, Tracie and Robyn, and this year we have a different three we’ll be cheering on at the Awards Night: Emily, Michelle and Natalie.

What have you learned that others might be interested in?

Robyn: Writing can be a lonely occupation. Joining with other like-minded people creates positives all over the place! You share good news, as well as those not-so-happy moments I call ‘thunks’. When you’re stuck, there’s always someone to bounce off and, of course, you reap satisfaction returning the favour. Valuable information is circulated, appreciated, and hopefully passed on further afield. Best of all, friendships are made…bonds that will serve you well on so many levels, in so many ways.

If you have any questions about LoveCatsDownunder or are interested in becoming a member then please contact Rachel, Nikki and the other wonderful Cats ladies via their blog

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